Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Buffaloes ask for game to be resumed after umpires' mistake

Kyodo

A day after umpires admitted mistakenly ruling a foul ball a decisive two-run home run, the Orix Buffaloes on Saturday asked the game be resumed from the point of the incorrect call.

An entourage that included Nippon Professional Baseball’s chief umpire, Masato Tomoyose, and the Pacific League’s supervisor, Kazuo Nakano, apologized to Buffaloes manager Junichi Fukura and Orix’s director of baseball operations, Hiroyuki Nagamura.

NPB does not alter the results of completed games, but Orix requested the game be restarted from the point when Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks batter Akira Nakamura’s 10th-inning foul ball was called a two-run homer. The ball was ruled a foul on the field, but after a video replay requested by Hawks manager Kimiyasu Kudo, the umps decided it was a home run.

After the game, however, the umpires spent 20 minutes reviewing the video again and admitted their error. NPB has been using video replay in select cases for several seasons at the discretion of the umpires, but starting this year, the Request System allows that any play on the field can be the subject of a video replay request by either manager.

“They watched the same video (after the game), but the in-game review was done incorrectly,” said Tomoyose, who explained that the umps were unable to freeze the video where there was a good view of the ball. “We need to improve ahead of next season so this kind of thing doesn’t happen. We aspire to have a replay request system that will satisfy those at the venue.”

Asked about the possibility of replaying the game from Nakamura’s foul ball, Nagamura said, “The rules don’t allow for it, but as long as they are admitting it was a complete mistake by the umpires, we want them to look into making an exception. That’s how important this we take this.”

With the game tied 3-3 and two outs in the top of the 10th, Nakamura had a 2-2 count with a runner on first when his deep foul off reliever Taisuke Kondo touched off the controversy.

“It’s very unfortunate this happened,” Kudo said. “I want them to look into what to do so something like this never happens again.”